“We hadn’t been trying for a baby the first time we got pregnant. The season of life we’d found ourselves in, fall of 2018, was sweet all around—marriage was great, we had friends our age to hang out with, and we thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that came with not having children to care for. Sure, we’d get to it one day. We just didn’t think it’d be anytime soon.
Out of the blue one night, I wondered, ‘Am I pregnant?’ The thought terrified me, so I told myself I was crazy and waited another week before deciding to take a test. Right before I took it, I sat down on my bedroom floor and told the Lord all the reasons having a baby made zero sense. I ended my prayer with open hands facing upwards. I said, ‘If I am pregnant, Lord, then I will receive this baby as a gift.’
I was most definitely pregnant, about 6 weeks along at that point. My husband, David, couldn’t have been happier. He’d always joked he was going to try to get me pregnant so I hit my third trimester in the heat of the summer. His humor was becoming a reality. I was excited, too. We’d dreamed about the day we’d get to raise kids together. I imagined blonde-haired darlings crawling into bed with us in the mornings, and taking turns washing sticky fingers in the kitchen sink before dinnertime.
Mixed with the excitement of new life was fear of the unknown, I often asked myself, ‘What if I’m not a good mom? What is labor like? What is going to happen to my body?’ Of all the fears running through my mind, the thought of miscarrying wasn’t one of them. This baby was a gift from the Lord. It was HIS timing, not mine. While I knew the prevalence of miscarriage, I also knew it wasn’t something that would ever happen to me.
Our first scan went well. The ultrasound technician said, ‘Things look as great as they could be at this point.’ Seeing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time is a surreal experience. Up until then, the only evidence of new life inside me was morning sickness (which made me feel anything BUT full of new life). But then I saw my baby’s heartbeat. He was the tiniest little love, about the size of a raspberry. The heartbeat was nothing more than a flicker on the screen, and at the same time, it was incredible. I wasn’t simply pregnant anymore, there was a tiny human inside of me and God was using my body to help it grow.
We told our families over Christmas and our friends after. My nephew, Daniel, nicknamed the baby my ‘Raspberry Baby’ and said, ‘I can’t wait to meet it!’ My in-laws cried tears of joy. Our friends jumped off the couch to hug us when we told them. Joy was overflowing, and we were so excited about the new adventure that was beginning.
Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last very long. I got a call from my OB a week later, saying, ‘The baby is a boy.’ (Much to my surprise—I swore it was a girl!) She continued, ‘Some tests you’ve run for him have come back with concerning results.’ She wanted me to come into the office as soon as I could so we could make sure he was okay. I didn’t make it to that appointment, though. The bleeding started a day later, and after rushing into the doctor’s office to see what was going on, I heard words no momma wants to hear: ‘We couldn’t find a heartbeat.’
Most of what followed was a blur. I went home and miscarried our baby boy the following day, at almost 12 weeks along. We named him Emmett Nathaniel. Emmett is the Hebrew word for faithfulness, and even in the depths of loss, we wanted to proclaim the Lord’s faithfulness to us. Nathaniel is the Hebrew word for gift. Our baby’s short life was a gift to us in every way. The physical pain of miscarrying was great. The emotional pain of losing my baby was greater.
My sister and her family came and stayed a couple of days with us so we wouldn’t be alone. Friends brought us dinner. Others came and cried with us. Despite the outpouring of love and the support they offered, it didn’t take long for loneliness set in. Miscarriage is incredibly common, but not commonly talked about. It’s always been odd to me how something so prevalent can feel so isolating. Maybe it’s because everyone grieves their losses differently? Maybe it’s because we’re not sure how to let people grieve? I don’t know the answers. All I know is the loss was deep and difficult to talk about. I was angry with God. I asked questions that didn’t come with answers. I asked, ‘Why did you give me a baby I didn’t ask for just to take him away? Why would you allow my baby to be sick? Why?’
Grieving the loss of Emmett looked a lot like choosing to trust in the Lord’s goodness when I didn’t feel like it. Choosing to remember truths that didn’t always feel true. And while I never got answers to my questions, my soul was satisfied with the Lord’s comforting presence instead. The hope of the Gospel was a balm to my aching soul when I was grieving the loss of my Emmett. Emmett died. But because of Jesus Christ, death doesn’t get the final say in his life. The months that followed Emmett’s death were hard. Well-meaning people, who wanted to make things better, offered assurances that did anything but. They said, ‘You wouldn’t have wanted to take care of a sick baby. You should be thankful you lost him early. It wasn’t God’s timing, but that will come!’ Others just wanted to know when we would try to get pregnant again. I didn’t tell them we hadn’t been trying for Emmett.
There was no way I would tell them I didn’t want to be pregnant again. The thought of losing another baby felt like too much to bear. But like other losses in life, God used time and counseling to bring healing to me. And one day, I told David, who had been patiently waiting for a child, I was ready for us to try for another baby. On Christmas Eve last year, our hopes came true—I was pregnant again.
If I was excited and scared the first time around, then I was doubly so while pregnant after loss. While miscarriage hadn’t been a thought in my mind during the first pregnancy, it was at the forefront of my mind with the second. The Lord was tender and loving to me, reminding me I needed to hand over my fears to Him so they didn’t consume me. In the same way, I sat down with the Lord and told Him I would receive Emmett as a gift and in the same way, I sat down with Him and rested in His goodness after we’d lost Emmett, I sat down with the Lord again. My hands were open and faced upward. I said, ‘I want this baby, Lord. You know how much I do. I’m trusting you with his life and I’ll praise you for every day you let me be his momma.’
The first few months of pregnancy were extremely difficult. I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse, but I was so sick I didn’t have time to worry about miscarrying. My only goal was to survive each day. Shout out to God for using banana splits and Gatorade to grow my rainbow baby for the first 5 months of his life in the womb. Experiencing loss changed the way I cherished time with my second baby. I took more bump pictures. I recorded his heartbeat when I got to hear it for the first time. I remembered the days weren’t promised, and thanked the Lord for each day, counting it as a gift.
On August 18, 2020, we welcomed Jonah Wyatt, our rainbow baby, into the world. He was healthy and happy, and we were utterly smitten. I’m convinced there’s nothing on earth more wonderful than holding a newborn baby. And how much greater is that gift when it’s a baby you’ve prayed and waited for. Jonah is a little more than 3 months old now, and I mean it when I say every day with him is a sweet gift. I cherish him more because I know the sting of loss.
The anniversary of Emmett’s death is coming up in a few weeks. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what life would have been like with two little boys to raise. I’m sure it would’ve been crazy. I probably wouldn’t sleep much. I imagine my days would’ve been filled with lots of cuddles and laughs, too. I’d give anything to know what that life might have been like.
Jonah doesn’t replace the baby we lost, but his life is a beautiful reminder death doesn’t get the last word. New life is coming. I get to hold Jonah today and will meet my Emmett on the other side of eternity. And one day, death will be nothing more than a distant memory. We’ll praise Jesus for his glorious victory together in new bodies that won’t succumb to sin or death ever again. The future is bright.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jaelyn Dawn of Kansas City, Missouri. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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